DJI Osmo Action 4K Video Camera: Hands-On

DJI’s first attempt at an action camera, the Osmo Action, is so good it immediately competes with or beats the GoPro Hero7 Black.


The DJI Osmo Action ($299 on Amazon) is my new pocket action camera. 2019 has been a whirlwind year when it comes to my camera collection and may represents the biggest paradigm shift in terms of gear since I switched from analog to digital video capture, Or else from film-based SLRs to digital cameras. That’s because it is the first year in over three decades of my life that I have not had and used an interchangeable lens camera of some sort. The culprit? Two things… the astonishing capabilities of the latest cell phones is one part of it, but assuredly the latest generation of action-oriented vlogging cameras like the DJI Osmo Action and GoPro Hero7 Black have had equal impact.


DJI Osmo Action offers 4K/60p rectilinear recording with Rocksteady stabilization, features that surpass the GoPro Hero7 Black

The Osmo Action directly replaces a GoPro Hero7 Black in my toolkit. The form factors are remarkably similar, but the DJI immediately stands out for having a faster operating system, a color screen on the front (for selfie video/vlogging) as well as for being able to shoot 4K/60p rectilinear video with “Rocksteady” stabilization. The Hero7 Black was limited to resolutions below 4K for similar video (rectilinear, stable). Those two differences alone are enough to make the switch worth it, IMO. It’s very complementary to my Galaxy Note 10+, with those two devices in my pocket I’m able to capture just about anything I want/need except scenes requiring significant zoom.

It’s interesting having used the Osmo Pocket and then the Osmo Action. They are quite different, with Osmo Pocket being considerably more of a filmmaker’s tool. Gimbals still have the upper hand for the ultimate in smooth stabilization. But Osmo Action brings close to the same video look to action cams, so if you have both Osmos, you can do incredible things. And hey, guess what… I also have the DJI Mavic Air which also has the same look to its photos and videos. Those three tools in my backpack are like having some sort of photo/video superpower!

I’m only 24 hours into playing with Osmo Action but I did take it out and shoot test clips, which I’m processing and will upload soon. Fair to say DJI has effectively won me over with its camera tools. I also have the Osmo Mobile 2 gimbal for the phone. All my Sony Alpha gear was sold on eBay! A new era.


First, a look at what Rocksteady can do for handheld, stationary shooting…

Rocksteady turned on

Rocksteady turned off


This clip is from Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Handheld walk-through 4K/60p with Rocksteady turned on. A gimbal would be smoother, but overall the look of this video works. Tons of details.


This clip, shot in the newly renovated Philly mall, Fashion District Philadelphia, shows the limits of the EIS (Rocksteady) stabilization of this camera but also highlights its strengths. It may not be the most exciting topic in the world but it’s got plenty of pans, tilts, forward and sideways views while walking, riding on an escalator, transitioning from indoors to outdoors and in again, etc.

Shot with auto ISO set with a limit of 800, otherwise default 4K/60p Rocksteady settings


Mark Henninger


1080p 8X slow motion (default settings)


Handheld 4K/60p with Rocksteady (default settings)


Shot in 4K/60p Rocksteady on the Osmo Action while riding beside Danya on a Onewheel (default settings)


More Art Museum steps footage shot while riding the Onewheel, but here I mix in some challenging pans. This clip has me sold on Rocksteady, it’s as good as a gimbal for what I need.


Here’s a ramp built for bicycles, I’m following Dayna on my Onewheel & then I pass her. This really shows off the smooth panning that 4K/60p and Osmo Action Rocksteady stabilization delivers.


Full Specifications (from DJI.com)

GENERAL

Dimensions 65×42×35 mm
Weight 124 g

CAMERA

Sensor 1/2.3″ CMOS
Effective pixels: 12M
Lens FOV: 145° f/2.8
ISO Range Photo: 100-3200
Video: 100-3200
Electronic Shutter Speed 120-1/8000s
Max Image Size 4000×3000 pixels
Still Photography Modes 1. Single
2. Countdown: 1/2/3/5/10s
3. Timed: 0.5/1/2/3/4/5/8/10/15/20/35/45/65/125s
4. Burst: 3/5/7s
5. AEB: 1/3EV×3, 2/3EV×3, 1EV×3, 1/3EV×5, 2/3EV×5, 1EV5
Video 4K (16:9) – 60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24fps
4K (4:3) – 30, 25, 24fps
2.7K (4:3) – 30, 25, 24fps
2.7K (16:9) – 60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24fps
1080p – 240, 200, 120, 100, 60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24fps
720p – 240, 200fps
Slow Motion 720p 120, 240fps
Speed: 4/8
1080p 120, 240fps
Speed: 4/8
HDR Video 4K – 30, 25, 24fps
2.7K – 30, 25, 24fps
1080p – 30, 25, 24fps
Timelapse 4K– 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 20, 30s
2.7K– 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 20, 30s
1080p– 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 20, 30s
Max Video Bitrate 100 Mbps
Supported File Formats FAT32 (≤32 GB); exFAT (≥64 GB)
Photo Formats JPEG/JPEG+DNG
Video Formats MOV, MP4 (H.264)
Supported SD Cards microSD; Max. 256 GB
Audio Output 48 KHz; AAC

CONNECTION

Wi-Fi Operation Frequency Range FCC/CE/SRRC: 2.400-2.4835 GHz, 5.725-5.850 GHz
MIC: 2.400-2.4835 GHz
Wi-Fi Protocol 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth Operation Frequency Range 2.400-2.4835 GHz
Bluetooth Protocol BLE 4.2

SCREEN

Front Screen 1.4 inches, 300 ppi, 750 ±50 cd/m²
Back Screen 2.25 inches, 640×360, 325 ppi, 750 ±50 cd/m²

BATTERY

Type LiPo
Capacity 1300 mAh
Energy 5.005 Wh
Voltage 3.85 V
Operating Temperature -10 to 40°C (14 to 104°F)
Operating Time A fully charged battery can support video recording at 1080P/30fps for up to 135 minutes (with RockSteady turned off and screen sleep enabled after 1 min) and 4K/60fps for up to 63 minutes (with RockSteady turned on and screen sleep enabled after 1 min).
Charging Time 90 mins

 

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